D-QU Celebrates Acquisition of Land

Nov 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 13-2: The Power of Partnerships, Tribal College News
By Rick Heredia
DAVE RISLING AND MORGAN OTIS

D-QU Board of Trustees chairman Dave Risling celebrates Deed Day with Dr. Morgan G. Otis, Jr., D-QU president.

For 30 years, D-Q University (DQ-U) has occupied 643 acres of land near Davis, CA, without holding the title. Consequently, the tribal college had to abide by restrictions that often hampered efforts to develop the land and fulfill the college’s goals.

But in April, that changed. D-QU reached the important milestone when the board of trustees acquired full title. Tribal college officials are happily considering what to do with the land. Currently, three-fourths of that land is leased to a local farmer, who grows various crops and raises cattle. Lease money provides scholarships for students, said Dr. Morgan Otis, Jr., president/CEO of D-QU. The land is home to a variety of wildlife, from jackrabbits to raptors.

Otis, who helped found the tribal college during a takeover and occupation of the site in 1970, envisions building a communication center on the land, using computers to link the school with the state’s reservations and rancherias. Ironically, the site was a U.S. Army communication center during the 1950s before the federal government deemed it surplus property in 1970.

Otis said the college is considering building facilities to produce solar and wind energy, as well as a gas-fired co-generation plant. Otis also envisions erecting a building in the shape of a California Indian roundhouse that would house classrooms, administrative offices, dormitories, and schools of study, such as spirituality and science and engineering. Before any development can begin, funds have to be raised. The president said approximately $5 million would help get the construction started.

Selling the land is not an option, he said. The Deed Day celebration in April lasted for three days. It coincided with the tribal college’s 30th anniversary. State officials presented a facsimile of the deed to Dave Risling, chairman of the 16-member board of trustees. The actual deed is on file with the state attorney general’s office.

More than 150 people—including Dr. David Wolf, executive director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits D-QU— crowded into the school’s UNESCO Room to witness the event. Jim Lamenti, a faculty member who helped coordinate the celebration, said, “There was a lot of whooping, hollering, and clapping.” (For more information about the history of DQ-U, see TCJ, Vol. 7, N.4.)

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